I was inspired to write this as a result of something that happened to me today. As I’m sure the world knows by now I am engaged. My fiance and I decided that a destination wedding was best for us. We did the research and got ourselves a travel agent. We’ve been working with her for the past few months getting everything in order.
Fast forward to today (Wednesday). Monday, my uncle contacted me and requested my wedding group number. For those who don’t know, when you book a wedding (or any sort of group celebration) typically the resort, hotel, etc will provide you a group number as recognition of your reservation and as a way to track guest specific to your event. Back to the story, my uncle informed me that he’d contacted my travel agent but she was unavailable so he decided to book through his own travel agent. I could not find my group number but I found my group name and sent it to him. I get a follow up text from my uncle the next day (Tuesday) letting me know that the group name was not sufficient, he needed the actual number.
At this point I reached out to my travel agent with the request. Usually my travel agent is Johnny On-The-Spot when it comes to responding to me. Regardless if its via text, phone call, email, flare, whatever she’s usually there. So I found it odd that nearly 48 hours later she had not responded to my email request. It is now Wednesday evening, I had mentally prepared to give her a call and have a stern conversation. I was hoping that our talk would not have to go that way but I felt the need to prepare myself nonetheless. Let me insert here, I am not a confrontational person. I usually let 99 things slide before I decide enough is enough and something needs to be said. However between planning a wedding and just simply going through life, getting older, my tolerance for BS is low and my F* it meter is high. When I got in from work I called my travel and verbally made the request. At this point I could tell there was going to be a problem.
Long story short, she inquired as to what I needed my group number for, tried to redirect me to get my uncle to call and book through her, and overall seemed very hesitant to provide me the number. I understand that with people booking through other sources she is loosing out on money. Here’s my problem, above all else I am the bride, this is my wedding, and I am spending a NICE chunk of change so any question I have or request I make should be answered with no problem. Above me being a bride I am traveler going to an island that I’ve never been to. Again, any inquiry I make into the specifics of my reservation should be answered tout suite. I am not interested in the backtalk, the swindle, or your feelings if we are being completely honest.
I understand this may sound harsh but stop and ask yourself why? Why does this sound harsh? Is it because it’s coming from a woman? I wonder if it had been my fiance on the phone making the same request would she have been as attitudinal or hesitant? Would he’d been met with the same level of resistance? After replaying the phone conversation in my mind it got me thinking why is it that when a woman is direct and expresses her expectation she is considered a bitch or “assertive” (code word for bitch)? Even in corporate america. Typically woman, man, doesn’t matter, to achieve leadership level success, CEO CFO, Chair, Directer etc you have to have a certain level of confidence and be able to express yourself effectively, concisely, and in an assured manner. Somehow in these roles women are still looked at and treated differently. Its not always this overt, obvious thing. Sometimes it very subtle. Certain comments or remarks said one on one or in casual conversation. Things that catch you off guard. Where you know in the depths of your soul a particular sentiment or sly comment would not have been directed at perhaps your male counterpart.
I am slightly irritated but overall feeling very nonchalant about the entire situation with my travel agent. As mentioned I am not confrontational nor am I the most outspoken of people. I am in the process of understanding how to express myself in a non-offending manner. How to be direct but not be too direct. How to express my expectations without adding too much emotion. I am okay with expressing my raw feelings but I also understand sometimes I can be too raw which results in an unproductive conversation. I’ve reached out to a good friend of mines who in my opinion has perfected of telling someone in the nicest of tones to “have a nice day” and they instantly know they done messed up. This is craft is going to something I work on in 2016.
What would be your advice to me? Have you encountered anything similar to this in your life? Let’s talk about it!
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